Summer Davos forum begins in China amid fears of economic slowdown

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The economic forum known as the Summer Davos kicked off Wednesday in the northeast Chinese city of Dalian.

Over 1,700 business leaders, political figures and entrepreneurs from 90 countries gathered to discuss new growth strategies at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting of the New Champions.

Co-hosted by China and running from September 9 to 11, the event comes amid mounting fears of a sharp downturn in the world’s second-largest economy.

Analysts say China will need to accelerate its reforms to stop the slide and meet its growth target of about 7 per cent this year.

A panel on Wednesday discussed the recent volatility in the Chinese stock markets as well as the large amounts of local debt and asset-bubble risks.

China’s benchmark Shanghai index recently lost all the gains it made in 2015, sparking a global sell-off.

Another panel discussed how the country could continue to grow while avoiding further destruction to the environment.

While China is the world’s leading investor in renewable energy, its cities are often cloaked in noxious smog, and its electricity mix is heavily reliant on coal power stations.

Chinese premier Li Keqiang was to address the forum Thursday, for an annual speech that often provides insights on policy direction.

“Li is likely to say he has an optimistic outlook and China will adopt more active policies to cheer up the economy,” said Zheng Chaoyu, professor of macroeconomics at the People’s University in Beijing.

“However it is not clear that China is aware of the extent of the problem,” Zheng said.

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